Drivers' hours regulations explained

Fleet managers are responsible for complying with drivers' hours regulations. Drivers' hours regulations protect driver's safety and other road users by ensuring all drivers are in a suitable condition to operate vehicles. It also promotes healthy competition as managers cannot force drivers to work excessive hours.

Drivers' hour regulations apply to many haulage operators and truck drivers that operate large or heavy goods vehicles (HGVs).

What are the EU drivers' hours rules?

What are the EU drivers' hours rules?

Driving hours can range from region to region, so it's best to check with the local authority. However, the EU has some guidelines as a basis. Here are some rules broken down:

Driving hours:

  • Daily driving limit
    - 9 hours, however, can be increased to 10 twice/week
  • Weekly driving limit
    - Maximum of 56 hours
  • Fortnightly driving limit
    - Maximum of 90 hours

Drivers' hours breaks:

  • Drivers must immediately take a 45-minute break after 4.5 hours of driving (unless the driver is opting for a rest period instead).
  • Breaks can be split (aka split breaks) into two, e.g. one 15-minute break and the next 30 minutes. (Note that it must be in that order and drivers cannot take the 30-minute break before the 15.)

Working time (including driving)

  • A maximum on average of 48 hours a week, however, can change based on a collective or workforce agreement. Find out more about workforce agreement here.
  • A maximum of 60 hours working time in one week (when 48 hours/week is not exceeded)
  • A maximum of 10 hours when night work is involved

What is classified as working time?

What is classified as working time?

Below is a list of working time activities:

  • Driving
  • Driver training
  • Loading and unloading as well as monitoring of loading and unloading
  • Cleaning or maintenance of a vehicle
  • Daily vehicle checks and reporting
  • Admin­is­trative work or regulatory obligations such as downloading of tachograph data
  • Any time drivers cannot freely dispose of their time and waiting periods when the duration is unknown to the driver

Drivers that travel to work from home or are taking breaks or are on a resting period does not count as working time.